Love Letter to my Spinal Cord Injury

IMG_5109 2Dear Spinal Cord Injury,

Today, it’s been 8 years since you came into my life. I never really wanted you. I never dreamed I’d meet you at all… until suddenly I did. You came crashing into my life in an instant and I was forever changed.

Ever since the beginning you have been demanding and bossy. You always insist that we do things your way. It took me a while to get used to you, but by now we get along just fine. We’ve learned to work together (most of the time).

I won’t lie… Sometimes you’re a real bitch. You’re incessant and irritating and you make me late and you make me cry and you leave me fallen on the floor. There are times I get so mad at you that I just want to scream. Sometimes I do. I’ve never been more frustrated with anyone else. You’re high maintenance and needy and everything that you want is soooo freakin’ expensive! You know I can’t afford that. When people meet us together, they always see you first. You embarrass me constantly.

And yet, you’ve become my closest friend and my trusted confidant. I know you like the back of my hand and I can read you like a book.

I am not sad we met. We’ve had so much fun together. I love being creative with you. I love trying new things and challenging myself and showing you all of the things we can do. We’ve climbed mountains on the earth and mountains in my mind — I hate you but I love you and I usually do both at the exact same time.

Because of you, I am a problem solver. I am an optimist. I am a risk taker in a way that makes me feel so alive. Because of you, I know what it means to be flexible and resilient. I know that I can’t always have things my way. Sometimes, you tell me I can’t do something, but I prove to you that we can. You threaten to hold me down but by now you know that I’m stronger than you. I always win the fight. I still have so much left to learn, but as young as I am now, you’ve already taught me a lot about what’s important in life and you’ve helped me learn what’s not. Not everyone is lucky enough to get advice like that from someone like you.

Because of you, we laugh a lot. Why should I be sad?

You’re ingrained in every part of me and everything I do. I feel you in my body. I feel you in my mind. You are my thoughts, my intentions, and the way that I perceive the world. You’re everything brokenly beautiful that I want to give it back.

Where would I be if it wasn’t for you? I have no idea.

WHO would I be if it wasn’t for you? I have no idea.

I never asked for you, but I would never give you back. I’d never trade you in or wish you away. You alone are not my definition, but this life we’ve created together defines who I am and for all of the blessings these years have contained… I am forever grateful.

Thank you, I love you. Like it or not, we will always be together.

Sincerely,

Brenna

P.S. You’re annoying.

20 thoughts on “Love Letter to my Spinal Cord Injury

  1. John Schall says:

    I love you so much Brenna. You will forever be one of the most important people in my life. Your insight into this world you inherited 8 yrs ago is so powerful and so life affirming and just so real. I told you a long time ago that you had a gift and you are so making the most of that gift. Keep writing darlin! Don’t ever stop. People need to hear what you have to say.

    Like

  2. Lisa says:

    This was the most amazing letter I have ever read. All my life if I see someone in a wheel chair I get so nervous and don’t know how to act. It’s true you see the wheelchair first because I am sad for those with handicaps. you have inspired by this amazing letter to share your feelings and teaching me I should look at you first and not the disability but yet to you it’s not a disability it’s a part of you. I won’t let the wheelchair win either. Thank you for teaching me .

    Like

  3. Keith says:

    Brenna
    While you have had many challenges along the way since that night, you have at the same time done way more than some do in their entire life. You continue to amaze me.

    Like

  4. Ralph Edward Sweeden says:

    Brenna,
    Your letter is beautiful, and it really touched my heart. After reading your letter, I realized that my way of dealing with my physical challenges have not been the best way. You have inspired others and especially me, that we can live a full life in spite of our physical challenges. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts as it has given me a different perspective on my own situation.

    Ralph Sweeden

    Like

  5. Laurie says:

    I have been inspired by you since the beginning of your journey. I have been awestruck at your ability to see the positive. You are a very special person miss brenna bean. Write a book. Just do it. You have a gift to share. Thank you for being amazing. Your fans adore you.

    Like

  6. KATHY FIELDS says:

    Your strength and courage are amazing. Thank you as your words are inspiring. Keep your memoirs as I see a book inside of you waiting to come out. You are a MIRACLE, and have much to share!
    THANK YOU, Kathy

    Like

  7. Greise says:

    Brenna,
    Amazing and true letter. I agree with every single word. I feel exactly the same way about my spinal cord injury.

    Greise Pezzin

    Like

  8. BARBARA B PAGE says:

    I worked at Craig for several years prior to our move and I think of Craig and the fabulous work done there everyday. It is wonderful to read your comments. How fun and how clever. You nailed it. Accept your “friend” and you can achieve miracles.
    Barb Page

    Like

  9. Tom Hamada says:

    Brenna . LOVE HOW YOU WORDEED IT PERFECT . you should speak to groups of NEW SCI YOU ROCKED IT . ANd your right THE SCI ALL IT DID WAS PISS ME OFF . IT MADE ME SO MUCH STRONGER . SORRY IM NOT ONE TO SUGAR COAT THINGS SO FIGIVE ME LANGUAGE . HOWEVER . THE SCI IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR LITTLE BITCH . WE LIKE CHALLENGES . WE HAD NO CLUE WHAT STRONG WAS MENTALY AND PHYSICALLY UNTIL THE SCI SHOWED UP . Thank you Brenna FOR SUCH A PERECT WORDING OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ABOUT THE SCI . YOUR GOING PLACES . DONT KNOW YA NO MATTER STAY STRONG . WE WILL DIE WELL AND WITH A SMILE ON OUR FACE . CUA WHEN DEATH COMES A KNOCKIN I WILL SMILE AT IT . AS WILL YOU . Thaks for teh INSPIRATION .

    Tom Hamada Nephi Utah post injury 07-31-1988 . 58 yrs old and PUSHIN FOR 30 yrs . YOU ROCKED IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  10. Jersey Jeanne Goldy-Sanitate says:

    What a unique way to look at a spinal cord. I have lived with mine for 34 years now. I feel the same way you do and you summed up what I have dealt with since 1984. I have done things I used to do but in a different way. I also have done things I never did before. I too have the LIKE, HATE (but think I could accept the LOVE after reading this) relationship my SCI insists on me having. Love this and will consider moving into a LOVE,HATE phase. Keep rollin’ Jersey Jeanne’

    Like

  11. seth says:

    Indeed. The proverbial love/hate relationship with a faulty spinal cord. My broken back has taken me all over the world. However, it also leaves me isolated and alone. The world claps and cheers when I do adaptive sports. It cries and donates money to non-profits. Yet, it wants virtually nothing to do with me outside of that arena. Who I am as a person and what I might have to offer is of little concern. The only time I am of value is when I put on a smile and engage in some sort of physical endeavor. It is because of my broken back that others are simultaneously “inspired” yet repulsed by me. Someday, with a heavy heart, I will kill my spinal cord injury. Eventually, whether we like it or not, that day will come. The two of us are inseparable. We are best friends. We are sworn enemies. My broken back will be the only one who never goes away. It is only when we return to dust that we will be free from one another. But, for now, I will simply continue to “overcome” my injury by riding a handcycle around or sliding down a snowy mountain. I will transcend my life of solitude by doing some sort of arbitrary competition that injury-free people could never imagine themselves doing. For the last 17 years, it’s the only thing that has mattered.

    Like

  12. Suzi says:

    Hi, thank you so much for this I am thinking how much this may be useful for recent sci people to read… and wondered on your reflections on when you were ‘newly’ injured how this description/‘blog’ would have been received. Through my work I know everyone is different and I am in constant wonder as to how we keep people focussed and enthused about life and opportunities… there will never be a one fits all approach, and I am hopeful at some point we will have something that will help most when it is needed despite the turmoil an sci poses but doesn’t necessary leave

    Like

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